Report Crewing Agencies exploiting seafarers - UPDATE

Circular No: NP/250/21


Our Ref: S1/1 S1/7

12th July 2021

Dear Colleague,

Report Crewing Agencies exploiting seafarers - UPDATE

Further to circular NP/288 of 20th November 2020, I write to further update you on recent developments in this matter and to re-issue an appeal for evidence.

The Government has stalled in response to your Union’s call for action to tackle the problem of crewing agents in the UK and overseas trying to recruit Ratings on sub-minimum wage pay rates, unsafe roster patterns and no pensions. These contracts are cast iron evidence of a ‘race to the bottom’ for Ratings working in the UK shipping industry. Shipowners and other employers claim to be opposed to this industry-wide undermining of good, collectively bargained terms and conditions for seafarers but the brazen activities of crewing agents consistently contradict this industry spin and deny work to UK Ratings.

We continue to apply pressure on the industry and the UK Government to tackle this issue through stronger regulation of crewing agents and will be raising it with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Chief Executive, Brian Johnson later this week. We have also requested a breakdown of contracts being advertised by Bachmann Group for Ratings jobs at day rates around £100 which are below the National Minimum Wage. This unacceptable practice represents both a race to the bottom and an attack on your job.

I repeat the request to members to report any online or print adverts you see for Ratings jobs which undermine the RMT’s collectively bargained terms and conditions, the National Minimum/Living Wage, future cabotage protections or the Maritime Labour Convention. I thank those members who have submitted information to date and urge all members to continue submitting any evidence of exploitative seafarer employment contracts to the National Policy Department

I would be grateful if you could bring the content of this circular to the attention of all members in your Branch and you will be kept updated with further developments.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary